Perhaps no single event in Bhutan’s history has drawn so much international attention as the sudden passing of a bill on Bhutan Sustainable Development Fund . On 27th June 2022, the bill was passed to levy the revised Bhutan SDF for International guests from USD 65 to USD 200. You can read the article here. In the light of the introduction of Bhutan New Tourism policy to Levy the SDF to 200, many questions are afloat. We are here to answer your question
Bhutan Tourism Policy of High Value Low Volume
Bhutan opened up to Tourism in 1974 after it came out of centuries of isolation. However the government adopted a cautious tourism policy from the beginning to avoid negative impacts of mass tourism .
Bhutan’s consistent tourism policy of high value , low impact was crafted to ensure its rich living culture. The kingdom represents a mystical destination left for those seeking a journey back in time. Visitors walk into a rich and vibrant culture still living in the dances and songs, festivals and legends, the art and architecture.
In order to achieve that the number of tourists visiting Bhutan was limited by imposing the Bhutan visit SDF of USD 65 per night. And it was not revised thereafter.
Why now introducing the New Bhutan Tourism Policy?
Bhutan has remained an exotic and intriguing destination for most travelers with a level of mystery that has provided a cachet of curiosity . However, the unsettling and transformative times brought on by human conflict, climate change, and other factors including the Covid-19 pandemic, are forcing countries across the world to rethink and revise travel procedures Bhutan too must take the pragmatic and practical approach to ensure the sustainability initiative adopted by our farsighted kings & to adopt a growth path that is more holistic.
Other Factors to Increase SDF
Bhutan being a small landlocked country had observed the sudden upsurge of tourist visitors. The monasteries were crowded, the sacredness of the sanctity was disrupted & there was an increase in waste.
Bhutan has always prided itself in being the only negative country in the world with 1000 acres of protected areas & as the one who jealously guards its religious & cultural heritage.
However all these were coming to a threat. Over the period of time there was a glacial recession & growing carbon footprint. So it became inevitable for the government to adopt the cautious tourism policy to avoid the negative impacts of tourism that could have on a small country like Bhutan.
Revised Bhutan SDF
The increase in the SDF to USD 200 was in line with Bhutan’s ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism policy. The SDF, however, has exemption on day tourists, who do not travel beyond the first designated point (Border town- Phuntsholing), five-year-olds and below, and children between six and 12 years would receive the concessionary levy rate of 50 percent.
What to expect with the increase in Revised Bhutan SDF
For most people high-end tourism means wealthy visitors who stay in expensive luxury hotels.
When Bhutan introduced the concept of ‘High Value Low Volume Tourism’ , it was not about luxury hotels, fancy restaurants or pothole free roads. Nor it had the intention to target rich clients.
But to give the guest the feel of Bhutan-ness of Bhutan- the uncontrived, authentic and genuine Bhutan experience. We mean quiet treks through pristine forests and not being swamped by the masses. We are also talking about the feel of a society at peace and people who are not intent on ripping-off guests. And We are talking about a taxi driver or shopkeeper who takes the trouble of returning a bag left behind by a passenger or customer.
The priority is not marketing Bhutan but managing the quality of the travel experience for both visitors and hosts.
Beneficiaries of Bhutan New SDF
Tourism is one of the biggest assets of the nation. Therefore, all Bhutanese citizens are key stakeholders as enshrined in the Constitution. The renewed vision for the tourism sector deliberately places considerations for the future generation . This is because the economic makeup of the country will be redefined by exciting new drivers of growth.
Reforms in education and skilling, and emphasis on STEM, for example, will help engage youth in high skill industries with the dexterity to navigate and excel in a rapidly-changing technology-driven world.
Embrace this nation policy of High value low volume with Bhutan Best Inbound Tour. We are the local tour operators based in Bhutan to offer you the authentic Bhutanese experience.
Discover the sacredness of Bhutan festival
Enjoy the freshness of new trekking routes like trans Bhutan trail
Enjoy the glory of virgin peaks
Challenge yourself for Snowman Trek
Celebrate the rich character of the society in Bhutan
Say hello to the Nomads
Meet the monk on the hill top. Participate in morning chant with them
Explore Bhutan & explore Bhutan
This is what Bhutan aims to offer & this is what we want to offer you. . . . Its Magic & Mystery
(Kuensel,Dasho Kinley Dorji)